DMH News

More precise radiation treatment in just minutes



Shorter cancer treatment times. More efficient radiation therapy.

“These two significant advantages clinched Decatur Memorial Hospital's decision to be the first U.S. hospital to order the new RapidArc® Radiotherapy system by Varian.

 "This new software was recently approved by the FDA and we are excited to offer this to our patients,” says John Ridley,  director of DMH Radiation Oncology.
The software allows the professionals at Dectur Memorial Hospital to program precise doses of radiation and dramatically reduce the time patients spend receiving the treatment.

“RapidArc allows us to treat patients in just a little over three minutes,” says Ridley, who notes that the same treatment without RapidArc would take about 15 minutes and the same treatment using TomoTheraphy takes about 20 minutes.

RapidArc delivers a precisely sculpted 3D treatment on just one 360-degree rotation of the linear accelerator machine. It simultaneously changes three parameters during treatment—the rotation speed of the machine, the shape of the treatment beam, and the dosing rate. This means  more efficiently delivered radiation for each treatment.

 “Other techniques require the machine to make several rotations around the patient or to make repeated stops and starts to set up beam angles,” Ridley explains. “This can add considerable time to the treatment visit.”

Reducing the treatment time is not only more comfortable for the patients, but reduces the opportunity for involuntary movement.

“The shorter the treatment time, the less time there is for the patient to move and affect the treatment area,” says Ridley. “This is especially important with treatments in the head, neck and spine, where even small movements can alter the treatment area.”

For more information on RapidArc, call 217-876-2351.